Catherine Patten - Unwavering Advocate for All
This week's story takes us to Cleveland where we recognize Catherine Patten, a tireless community volunteer and advocate for adults with disabilities.
Tiana Hubbard has just returned from a family vacation in Florida and can hardly wait to surprise her friend, Catherine, who has no idea she's back in town.
Tiana says, "She's (Catherine) been through a lot in the past few years, from losing her house in the tornadoes of 2011. She lost her mom from Alzheimer's, but, instead of giving up she continues to do things for other people. She's raising money for the Alzheimer's Association and she's putting together a non-profit organization called 'Love Nancy' in honor of her mom."
I ask what Catherine is doing as Tiana and I speak just down the road from the big surprise.
"Well, right now she's at work. She works at Trousdale. She's a job coach for adult students with mental disabilities and she may be doing some workouts with the students and maybe some job training, and she's gonna be shocked that we're there," Tiana says.
We quickly count out the 'Pay it Forward' cash and head that way!
Tiana walks in the school and turns the corner to find Catherine sitting with someone in a front office.
"Hi friend," she says.
A very surprised Catherine turns and asks, "What are you doing?"
Tiana replies, "I am here on behalf of McMahan Law Firm and NewsChannel 9. I'm going to 'Pay it Forward' to you for all of the awesome things that you do!"
Catherine, who's still shocked, bursts from her chair.
"What are you even doing in town?"
"I'm back from Florida," Tiana says with a laugh and then counts out five crisp $100 bills.
Their bond is evident. Catherine tells me how Tiana helps her with the Alzheimer's Association's annual walk and with "Love Nancy."
"We provide respite support to caregivers of loved ones living with Alzheimer's," Catherine tells me.
Nancy was Catherine's mother and the namesake of this newest endeavor of love.
Nancy was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the age of 58 and passed away last February.
Catherine chokes back tears as she tells me, "She was a wonderful mom. She rescued animals and I want to be able to give back."
Catherine's students rush in to share in her excitement, thanking her for her kindness and ending the morning with what else, but
a great big group hug!
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